San Onofre Paddle Fish Adventure part II
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 Rough waters in front of San Clemente

Soon after I noticed the wind begin to shift from offshore to south by southeast. That's basically right in our face.  Along with the wind came a good size wind driven swell.  We all kept fishing but the reality was starting to set in. This trip was not going to be without adverse conditions.  I kept fishing, picking up mostly bonito at this point. Soon after the group realized that we'd better start putting some miles behind us.  If we didn't we could be battling this weather front all day.

The sky was thick with dark clouds and the rain arrived early, almost targeting the group as it made it's way to shore. Rain was the least of our concerns since sea kayakers are already prepared to get wet.  It's paddling straight into that darn 10-15 knot wind combined with 1-3ft wind swell that seemed to change the entire tempo and vibe of trip.  Pausing only for moment to wet a line just didn't seem worth it as you were certain to end up several hundred yards back within a few seconds. The pier which seemed only a mile or two away took over an hour to get to.  The group would continue paddling without pausing for what seemed like hours. There were several bail out points along the way but the group was determined to paddle onward.  We even joked about landing the kayaks and ordering up a few hot pizzas. 

It's Miller Time!  The group takes a much needed rest.

So the group press forward.  I think at this point most of us were already past our 2nd wind.  I got use to the lactic acid burning in my arms and shoulders. As we made it around the point past San Clemente the wind diminished a bit and clear skies can be seen on the horizon.  The group tightened up to share a brief rest and a frosty malt beverage.  We fanned out again and fished a broad kelp forest which seemed to stretch from the point down to San Onofre. A few small bass later and it was time to head in.  I wasn't the only one prepared to embrace dry land and stable ground.  I think everyone had enough punishment for the day.

I took my time to carefully study the wave sets as the last thing I wanted to do was get dumped after that long battle. We all made it in through the surf for a relatively uneventful landing.  Cabo John Near cranked up the propane grills and set up the instant tail gate kitchen to make way for the carne asada and taco bar.  Kurt got the burger stand going as the rest of us hung around hydrating our beated bodies with malt beverages.  

San Onofre landing zone

That's what it's all about!  Sure we'd like to catch tons of fish along the way.  I think most of us go in with that focus but as the spirit of the adventure sets in, you can't help to feel that there's much more to these things than catching a bundle of fish.  Everyone had their fair share of catches but what I'll remember the most was the experience and camaraderie I shared with the group. 

 John and Kurt taking advantage of solid ground  and tasty treats

The food, laughs and camaraderie was well worth the trip despite the rough conditions we endured. It was almost surreal standing on the calm shore, joking around with a bunch of friends as we watched the storm head north.  The system made for some tough times but left behind a most spectacular sunset.  

 San Onofre Nuke Power Plant

A big thanks goes to Kevin "Yakslam, Paul "PAL", John "EE", John "CaboJohn", Kurt and Bing.  You guys made this Paddle Fish Adventure a trip I'll always remember.

 The calm after the storm

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